by Michelle Freeman, Director of Youth/College
St. Barnabas UMC, Arlington
Meeting over dinner with the leadership team (made up of all youth and 3 adults) of St. Barnabas Youth group, the discussion came around to inviting un-churched friends to Youth. In talking to the team we had learned that many of their friends were uncomfortable in coming in to the church building for events – that as soon as they were invited they seemed to come up with reasons why they couldn’t. So we looked at places where we could gather outside the church to have fellowship and prayer together.
The youth spent some time studying who Andrew was . . . not just that he was one of Jesus’ disciples, but how he lived his life. When Andrew met Jesus he didn’t just follow Jesus or just sit with him learning all that he could. Andrew ran as quickly as he could to bring his brother to meet Jesus. Andrew continued the remainder of his life bringing people to Christ. Even as he hung on the cross for two days, he would tell anyone within ear shot about Christ.
Andrew became a role model for our youth group. We shouldn’t just sit around and learn all that we can and then keep it to ourselves. We should run and tell others and bring them to Christ.
It was decided we would have our first “Andrew night” at a local park. Sundays in July usually bring low numbers to most churches and youth programs, with people headed out for summer vacations, going to the lake, enjoying the long summer days. For many reasons numbers in late July are just lower. Seemed like a great time to try a new idea, “Andrew Nights.”
We planned a hot dog supper, Ultimate Frisbie and kickball followed by circling up to one song accompanied by acoustic guitar, a prayer and the UMYF Benediction. Youth were encouraged to bring un-churched friends.
What should have been a very low turn-out night turned into 58 youth showing up, 15 of whom were first-time visitors. We had a great time and made new friends. We liked it so much we planned two more “Andrew Nights” – a trip to Coyote Drive-In last fall, and off to WhirlyBall in March!